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Mersey Estuary Paddle 1st May 2021 – by Keith Steer

Mersey Estuary Paddle 1st May 2021 – by Keith Steer

The weather looked ace, light winds and blue sky so I suggested a paddle – probably the Mersey. People had been telling me of an easy get on at the Rest Rooms Pub / Tranmere Sailing Club ramp on the Wirral. From here we could take the flood tide up towards Eastham and the Marshes beyond.

The slipway gives good access and avoids all the nasty pontoons and terminals to the north. While the flood tide is very strong, it does whisk you along and we were soon paddling past several wharfs and commercial slipways towards Eastham park. Here the Deep-water shipping channel gets very close to the shore and you need to keep a good eye out for any of the small tankers and craft heading for either the Shell oil terminal or Ship Canal locks.

We spied a couple of mid-tide stopping points but carried on past the Ship canal towards Mount Manisty (a mound of spoil from where they dug out the ship canal 100yrs ago). The tide was still rising, and we found a small drain under the ship canal that provided a sheltered channel for a snack. Before long, the tide rose enough to enable a safe and mud-free exit. The sandy beach proved ideal for a lunch break while we waited for the tide to turn. There was even an old tent and stove discarded on the beach and ideas developed for a local camp from sea kayaks in the future.

We took the ebbing tide and wove our way around two large vessels waiting at the lock entrance. We even found a tunnel under one of the little used wharfs which was exciting. A stiff headwind had developed, and we even found a small overfall off port sunlight.

Returning to the Restrooms, it would have been poor etiquette if we had not taken advantage of a sunny outside table and some rather good food.   Great local trip in the right conditions but strong tides always require little if no wind on the Mersey Estuary.

More Photos……….

River Leven Paddle 25th April 2021 – by Craig Ford

River Leven Paddle 25th April 2021 – by Craig Ford

The first opportunity for many, many months for paddlers to get out to the Lake District saw an organised group of 24 paddlers arriving early Sunday morning at the River Leven get in. Like turning up to the beach when the tide is out there was talk of “Where has the water gone?” This was going to be a first for everybody paddling this stretch of the Leven at such a low level.

No need for the usual queue to get on to the water and everybody waded out ankle deep into the river to get in their boats. A gentle float down to the first feature where normally we would stay away from the weir, which today had no water running over it.  With the insight that the remainder of the river would be very scrapey we were encouraged to use the play wave here to have fun in, along with ferry gliding across for those keen to practise.

Then it was time to paddle downstream which now gave new features with proper drops and the ability to scramble back upriver and have a couple more practices. Everyone safely over the drop and it was time to navigate down river around the rocks and the newly named “Gravel Yard”. Even with the low levels the get out had the usual “socially distanced” conversations about the enjoyment of the day’s paddle.

Thanks to everyone for making this a great day out and especially the leaders and assistants for volunteering to run this trip.

Happy paddling


More Photos……….

Improvers trip on the River Dee (Ponsonby to Ty Mawr) – by John Cooke

Improvers trip on the River Dee (Ponsonby to Ty Mawr) – by John Cooke

Today saw the first club paddle since the easing of lockdown, 30 paddlers met at the Ponsonby Arms to run the section down to Ty Mawr, the river was low but for some this was their first time on moving water and for others it was a nervous return.

After a flawless shuttle considering the numbers, we were soon ready to get on the river. We split into groups of six and the first group were soon off downstream.

A few people were caught out early on and received wet ears!

After a while we stopped for lunch and a leg stretch but were soon back on the water. We soon reached Trevor rocks and a few small play waves were still running, well done to everyone who had a go.

Off again and we soon passed under the always impressive aqueduct and made our way down to the get out at the country park. The weather was good, the atmosphere relaxed and all in all a good day, always nice to see a Heron on the water.

Thanks to everyone for coming, hope it gave you a taste of white water and hope to see you on the river soon. Thanks to the leaders and assistants for helping out as without them these trips could not run.


More Photos……….

Masoud Masih Mohammadifar (Mas) has made a splash around the club – by John Allerton

Masoud Masih Mohammadifar (Mas) has made a splash around the club – by John Allerton

After I met Masoud who joined the club the other day – I saw what an amazing kayaker he was when he pleaded with me to let him in a kayak on the water.  I did not know though of his background at this time but thought you obviously have something to show me.

Masoud Mohammadifar (pictured) back when he was a kayaker, canoeist and dragon-boat racer for Iran's national teams

When I saw Mas get on the water and kayak up the docks at full speed and throw his paddle away, immediately hand roll up, I was amazed.  He then told me “Oh thank you Sir, thank you very much Sir , you are my saviour. ” He was  gold medallist in Iran and an Athlete also a Goal keeper for polo.   I thought I would help him into the club and introduce him to the polo team and take him on the river.

If you get talking to Masoud (Mas) you will notice that he is enthusiastic about all paddle sports but also has an amazing story of his journey to the UK.

  • Hadi Hossein Nejad, 28, and Masoud Mohammadifar, 39, succeeded in making the 21-mile journey to the Kent coast
  • They paddled across the world’s busiest shipping lane at night at the end of August in a Decathlon inflatable Kayak.

A rare August storm blew up and the kayak bringing two shivering migrants to Britain across the Channel filled with water.  As the waves dragged the flimsy vessel downwards, the pair frantically bailed out with their bare hands.

Masoud Mohammadajir (right) who is an Iranian champion kayaker crossed the channel two weeks ago in a Decathlon purchased small kayak with his friend Hadi Nejad (left) who cannot swim One had never paddled a kayak before and could not even swim. Earlier during the ten-hour crossing, he vomited seawater that he had swallowed, and feared he would die. And yet, huddled in their small £220 blow-up kayak with flimsy paddles, the two Iranians miraculously succeeded in making the 21-mile journey to the Kent coast.

On the morning of August 9, the migrants, barefoot and wearing shorts, were spotted by a coastguard helicopter nearing Dover.  A Border Force cutter raced to the scene. They were pulled on board and told by an officer with a ‘perfect’ English accent: ‘Welcome to the UK.’

Incredibly, the non-swimmer, 28-year-old Hadi Hossein Nejad, had to learn how to paddle as they travelled. The other, Masoud Mohammadifar, 39, was an international kayaker for Iran until jailed as a suspected U.S. spy by the Islamic regime.

Masoud is now resident in Liverpool and a regular member at the club. He just loves paddling and helped with maintenance, plays polo and helps with almost any session he can. He is still applying for asylum in the UK but if you get the chance please talk to him about his incredible journey.

Read more about his journey over land and then by sea in the Daily Mail article by Sue Reid from 14th August 2019.

The migrants who came in by kayak: SUE REID on the astonishing story of the Iranian canoeing champ and his friend who paddled to Dover on a £220 inflatable in pitch darkness……

Graphic shows the men's journeys. Both are claiming asylum and hope to stay in Britain

Hilbre Island from Dee Sailing Club – Sunday 11th April 2021 – by Clare Brown

Hilbre Island from Dee Sailing Club – Sunday 11th April 2021 – by Clare Brown

The paddling plans were sent out on Saturday evening by Keith detailing the schedule for Sunday 11th April.  A change of plan to the original paddle details were made due to the ever-changing weather, wind and sea state.

Hilbre Island

For LCC Members who are not familiar with the Dee Estuary and have yet to experience this lovely part of the Northwest coastline.  Hilbre Island lies at the mouth of the Dee Estuary, close to West Kirby about 1 mile from Red Rocks Nature Reserve in Hoylake, this is the nearest part of the mainland to the island.

Hilbre Island is an unbridged tidal island and along with Middle Eye and Little Eye form a line of islets that run parallel to the Hoylake coastline All three islands are formed of red bunter sandstone. The main island and Middle Eye are less than a hundred yards apart. Little Eye and Middle Eye are both unpopulated, but Hilbre Island has a few houses, some of which are privately owned, however there are no longer any residents on the island.

Below half tide it is possible to get to Hilbre on foot. To get there by kayak you must allow 2 hours either side of high water, and even then, you need a spring tide of 8.5m for extra depth over the many sandbanks.

The plan was to arrive at Dee Sailing Club at 9.30am for a 10am start on the water.  2 paddling groups had been formed by enthusiastic members ‘raring’ to get back out on the water following the recent lock-down.  Ian Bell leading one group and Keith Steer leading the 2nd.  Both groups were on time and organised, ready and excited to return to the freedom of the sea once again and to have a great, local-ish paddle.  The morning offered us a cold frosty start, but ‘brilliant’ sunshine brought with it smiles and laughter from all involved.  Each group helped its team members to carry the kayaks 50 yards off the slipway.  The incoming tide met us nicely and at the ‘click’ of one’s fingers we were all on the water heading out north towards Hilbre Island. We paddled into a slight headwind that blew the cobwebs away.  Bright blue skies surrounded us with a pattering of cumulus ‘soft fluffy’ clouds.

The groups spread out in socially distanced pods and paddled rhythmically north.

Hilbre gradually got larger and larger as we progressed towards the west side of the Island.  The Experienced paddlers in the group helped us tactically navigate the sandbanks and rocks of the middle and little eye as we headed onwards to Hilbre.

As we passed Middle Eye, we had a pleasant surprise visit from a common seal.  It bobbed its head up 4 or 5 times looking to see what we were up to and then disappeared.

The two paddling groups took the opportunity to circumnavigate Hilbre clockwise with near perfect weather conditions on our side.   Experiencing a small amount of swell and tide race off the north tip of the Island we changed direction and for a short spell went with the tide and swell.

We were not the only paddlers taking advantage of the relaxation of Lockdown guidelines, paddling opportunity and the fantastic sunshine and warming temperature of the day. A group of sea kayakers had already circled Hilbre, and a number of SUP Boarders were enjoying the day too.

We landed on the beach at the south end of the Island for lunch.  We happened to share our lunch location with a Lady photographer who had her prints scattered over the rocks on display.  Sandwiches, Soup, fresh fruit, and a well welcomed bag of Jelly babies were enjoyed along with fantastic views of the Wirral Coastline and the north wales coast. A snow-capped Mount Snowdon was visible in the distance.

Following a nice break for lunch with great company and food we got back on the water for our return leg.  Once more we were met by an inquisitive seal that eyed us up from a safe distance and then disappeared.  Hilbre and the other nearby low-lying islets are nature reserves and important sites for wading birds and wildfowl.  We spotted Dunlin, Oystercatchers and Curlew off Middle Eye as we passed by.

We tracked a line along the shallows of the Wirral coastline into the outgoing tide.  The northerly wind that should have assisted our paddle back had dropped slightly for our return journey. The groups paddled strongly with talk of the LCC Hilbre Island Sea Kayak race.

We landed back on the Dee Sailing Club slipway with time to spare, making for a short portage off the beach, as the tide was steadily retreating.  Once again it was a fantastic team/group effort to carry the kayaks to the loading area.

A fantastic, well planned, paddle with great people on a wonderful part of the Northwest Coast.

More Photos……

Dee Estuary to Flint by Julian Trigg

Dee Estuary to Flint by Julian Trigg

Back on the sea, cold and sunny, with LCC

It was good to get back on the sea – and good to meet up with LCC members I hadn’t met before (or for some time).

I’ve mapped our track on several maps and it’s interesting to compare especially the satellite imagery of the sandbanks. Obviously, they change over time and the different platforms show subtle differences.

Map with GPS track (click on icons)

The general-purpose Navionics Chart Viewer is here:

  • Toggle between Navionics and Sonar map views (bottom left hand corner icon)
  • Measure distances with the calliper icon in the bottom right-hand corner
  • Other features I haven’t tried on the Menu

Setting off from the Dee Sailing club and heading upstream to the far shore towards the TSS Duke of Lancashire.

Approaching the inlet at Flint

Time for a break

Heading around the corner to see the castle remains

It was a hard paddle back against the wind, not gaining much help from the outgoing tide and then we ran aground on a sandbank. It was a long way back but after a few hundred metres we were back in the water

Finishing on the slipway

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Surfing at Lewsowe Bay

Surfing at Lewsowe Bay

Monday 5th April, 4pm. Surf the incoming tide at Leasowe Bay. It gets busy here with the local Dippers. Parking can be an issue. Vehicle needs to be under 2m to get through the barrier. Cracking surf beach. Surf with the boarders!

Wind will be around 22mph. Onshore wind with nice waves. Much nicer surf than Crosby. An alternative, if parking is impossible, is Perch Rock, New Brighton.

Surfing is a naturally social distanced sport. If you fall out of your boat, keep hold of everything and walk back to the shore.

It’s not an official club trip, but Karl and I will be there and want to let you know.

May be an image of nature and ocean

May be an image of ocean, beach, coast and sky

May be an image of nature

Open canoe trip – Farndon to Chester

Open canoe trip – Farndon to Chester

The weather was too good to miss, and we had agreed to meet up in Farndon to paddle down to Chester. We had agreed to paddle as two groups on the river with social distancing made easy in the opens.

Put-In: Holt (Roman) Bridge in Farndon, Bridge Street, LL13 9JH

Take-out at Sandy Lane CH3 5UT

At Farndon we stayed on the English side of the bridge but observed many cyclists and locals crossing to the Welsh side. Fortunately, the border ran down the middle of this part of the lower river Dee, so we were not breaking any Covid-19 rules. Whilst waiting for the shuttle we chatted to locals about the large flood in January which damaged part of the bridge which was closed for 4-5 days. We put in at the small public car park by the new build called “the boat house” just in case anyone is looking for a new 5 bed detached with nice views of the river and town.

Despite being pretty low, there was a good current to help us whisk us along the pleasant countryside. Several large logs blocked part of the river channel in places, but we were able to chat to each other as we paddled. Elevenses arrived and we managed to get out and enjoy a brew. Both groups stopped in the same place, but we all kept our distance. I even observed some high hills in the distance – after some discussion we agreed they were the hills around Llantysilio.

We paddled on past the Duke of Westminster`s old Estate (Grosvenor Estate and Eaton Hall) under the Iron Bridge and stopped for lunch at the sharp Elbow bend with the sandy beach. Mark had his “Kelly Kettle” and stove and was keen to fry up his lunch. We had all just about finished our lunch when he finally got his stove going. The smoke from the wood was blowing out across the field and he was just about to dig in when a very polite lady security guard / warden from the Grosvenor Estate appeared and forcefully told us that we were trespassing and needed to leave. She explained that there had been ever increasing problems with lockdown parties, litter and large groups paddling up from Eccelston Ferry and Chester and finally the Estate were trying to put a stop to all of it. We of course said we would leave and began to pack up. We chatted to her about the difference between kayaks and canoes and Kingfishers and anything we could think of to give Mark a few more minutes it eat down his potato waffle and hot drink. We departed a few minutes later, on good terms, but should remember to stop on the opposite bank next time.

We quickly made good time down through the large houses of Chester to Sandy Lane. We moved the cars around to the car park and Andy offered a lift back to Farndon as it was on his way home. We were well spaced in the car and followed government guidance by wearing face masks and having the windows down.

Unfortunately, just as Phil and Clare were about to leave, a small white camera car entered the car park, did a quick loop, and swiftly left. On checking the signs, it seems car parking MUST be between the faded white lines and restricted to 4 hours only. We were loading by the slipway and fear that we may get a fine in the post. Please watch out for this if using Snady Lane Car Park in future.

Despite everything, it was still great to be out on the water again

More photos…..